Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dear Charlie:

It's been a while since I did a movie review. There's good reason for that: 's been a while since I saw a new movie. Heh.

I mean, I saw GI Joe just last weekend, but I'm still not sure what to say about that one. I guess... if I'd never watched the cartoon growing up, I probably would've loved it. It's very entertaining. But the characters are pretty wrong, both in backstory and in present, and the lines between them... just... no.

Snake Eyes was awesome, though. The wrong reason for being silent, but hey. I'd watch that whole movie again to watch him and Storm Shadow duke it out.

But this post isn't about GI Joe.

I finally rented three movies I've wanted to watch since I heard they were coming out. Two of them, I want to talk about here. The other one, you ask?

Well, what can I really say about Transporter 3 but that Jason Statham has an absolutely lovely back? The fight editing was a little jerkier this time around, which was kind of annoying, but hey. He still looks awesome doing it.

But no, I want to talk about Mutant Chronicles and RockNRolla. Yes, finally got around to both of them. I am appeased.

Mutant Chronicles is a weird movie. I like weird movies, but honestly, this one just didn't do it for me. I love Ron Perlman and Thomas Jane, and once it really got moving, I was pretty hooked, but it took a loooooong time to get moving. There was plenty of obvious green screen scenery, which I'm chalking up to the low budget not supplying enough sets, but I do like the steampunky feel to it.

Ron Perlman is always awesome to watch, and Thomas Jane was convincing as ever. I'm starting to like Devon Aoki (I'll always hear her introduction in Clive Owens' voice: "Miho. Deadly little Miho."), and Anna Walton was awesome as Brother Samuel's sword-weilding follower who believes in a book she can't even read.

But the run-up was slow, and the end was something of a letdown. Sure, he saved the world by activating the ship, but...it just didn't do anything for me. If it hadn't been Thomas Jane and Ron Perlman, I don't even know that I'd have watched past the first half-hour, and that's kinda sad because the story was an interesting premise.

Oh, well. It may yet end up as a story generator, because steampunk is big right now. Though I am terrible at riding the popularity wave. Heheh.

On the other hand, RockNRolla is fantastic. I think I'm starting to be a Guy Ritchie follower, because I think I'd watch just about anything with his name on it and a British gangster plot. He has yet to let me down there, though I skirted Revolver and that other one.

I don't do serious. Heh.

I seem to remember checking reviews when it first came out and I found out we wouldn't get it around here in theaters and seeing it damned with faint praise. That boggles my mind. I can imagine people hating this flick, but I can't imagine anyone being lukewarm about it. If you get the British humor, and I do, you surely have to love it. If you don't get the British humor, then you'd almost have to hate it. It'd bore you to death.

So how can anyone be half-way on it?

Luckily, I have no such qualms. I love it. Mark Strong is stellar as the "main" character, if you can call anyone in a Guy Ritchie flick the main character. Archy's personality -- his credence, you might say -- lends the entire film verisimilitude. He's serious, but not incapable of finding humor even in the dregs of crime. He's got a past, and while it's hardened him, it's also opened his eyes to the world around him. He's smart, and he's loyal, and sometimes those two things rub against each other, but he handles it all with his Archy panache and his infamous backhand.

And that makes the rest of the cast -- a Guy Ritchie film without an ensemble cast just isn't a Guy Ritchie film -- work. Like Turkish in Snatch, Archy is the catalyst. Archy is the pivot around which the movie turns.

There is, though, the hilarious sideplot with One-Two and Mumbles and Handsome Bob. The crime and the fights and the retributions make the movie, I swear. Great stuff, there.

And there's also the supposed RockNRolla of the title, Johnny Quid. Little pissant, to be honest, but he earns his mustard later in the film. He's just to damn skinny. It almost hurts to look at him.

Of course, he's a junky. He's supposed to be painfully thin and ragged out. Carries it off well. And his speech about life and cigarettes makes him a little less unlikable.

But it's mostly Archy. And a painting you never see. And Russians. And the infamous crawfish torture. And perhaps the best use of a golf club I've seen since Lono in Suicide Kings. Heh.

It's just Guy Richie, and it's all sorts of good times. The jewel in this action movie weekend's triple crown.

RockNRolla.

Damn. Now I'll have to find a way to buy it.

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